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Libraries in a Digital Age: Books as a Service

25 August 2013 | Comments (0)

I attended Media Evolution in Malmo, Sweden last week. It’s only the second time I’ve been to Sweden. I like Sweden. This was a lively and wide-ranging conference, with sessions on topics as diverse as Space Hacks and How We Learn. I’d been invited by Jonas Lennermo of Publit.se - to speak during a two-hour strand on Libraries in a Digital Age. Publit published a manifesto for the conference, also called Libraries in a Digital Age, which isn’t online yet, but which contains their plan for The Swedish Model, a new digital platform where libraries and publishers can collaborate on the provision of e-books to readers – (there’s a summary of The Swedish Model here on The Literary Platform. What follows is a mish-mash of thoughts and ideas sparked by the conference.

The panel was very interesting – much of the conference was live-streamed an then archived, including James Bridle’s elegant keynote: you can see all the sessions, even mine, here. Richard Nash, editor and publisher, now of Small Demons, was also on my panel. His talk, ‘On the Business of Literature’, was a version of a piece he wrote for the Virginia Quarterly earlier this year, (also included in the Publit manifesto), where he argues that the ‘publisher is an orchestrator in the world of book culture, not a machine for sorting manuscripts’. In his talk he took his arguments a few steps further. When we buy an e-book, we don’t actually buy it, we license the right to read it; if we are licensing our reading material, e-books are no longer artefacts, but a service.  Nash quotes Peggy Nelson, who states that readers and writers aren’t types of people, but that reading and writing are types of behaviour. And once you begin to think of reading as a behaviour, and supplying e-books as a service, you can then begin to think about reading in terms of current developments around life-logging and ‘the quantified self’ – the business of people measuring, logging, and assessing their own data. I know a lot of people now who wear armbands that collect data on how many steps they take, how many calories they burn, and how well they sleep. Would it be useful or interesting to be able to add data on how we read, what we read, how we discuss what we read, to this dataflow?

Data and privacy is a rather large subject at the moment (!). In his keynote Bridle discussed how public discourse and debate around data and privacy is a decade behind the technology itself; he used the recent example of the rubbish bins in the City of London that turned out to be capturing data from the phones of passers-by.  The idea that people might not want their private data captured in this manner doesn’t seem to have occurred to the technologists and city planners involved in implementing these bins; Bridle said he thought the bins would be removed but that, in a way, he’d prefer it if they were not, but instead, became a focus for debate. 

Amazon captures a vast amount of data about how people read the e-books Amazon licenses to us; it would be an interesting thing if readers and writers – or those among us who exhibit reading and writing behaviours – could access that data. Damian Walter’s recent piece in the Guardian, Who Owns the Networked Future of Reading?, states, ‘Readmill and other indie developers might yet deliver the future of reading back in to the hands of readers and writers. But if this utopian ideal is to become a reality, we’re going to have to rethink what it means to own a book, or any kind of information, even if you created it. Issues such as piracy and filesharing suggest the principle of ownership and the highest potential of our information revolution are not compatible.’

Piracy came up over and over again at Media Evolution, in particular the Swedish tribe, Pirate Bay. Peter Sunde, one of the founders of Pirate Bay, spoke via Skype from a secret location; he claimed that sometimes more than half the traffic on the entire internet is going through Pirate Bay. His talk was entertaining and not without controversy (he stated that ‘copying’ is not ‘theft’ and that ‘Disney are the real content thieves’). He talked about Flattr, a platform Pirate Bay has developed that simplifies paying creators for their work, enabling people to make micro-payments to creators whose work they ‘like’ online; he said that ‘distributing money online is as difficult as distributing content’. Sebastian Posth, another speaker on my panel, told us that there is a German e-book pirate site that is so successful they’ve begun offering a monthly paid e-book subscription service; a librarian from Stockholm’s Digital Library said that he has 5000 DVDs in his collection that no one ever borrows because ‘why would they when they can get everything more quickly, more easily, from Pirate Bay’? 

Some of the most interesting experiments in libraries have been around local, or community, publishing. For me, the most interesting approach to the extraordinary rise of self-publishing is to think of self-publishing as a new form of participatory social media, and self-publishing as part of the quantified self movement. In this context, rethinking books as a service, and the book data we generate as readers, as part of the quantified self, could be fruitful territory for writers and publishers (or people who exhibit writing and publishing behaviours!). Is the role of the library of the future to move beyond containing content to helping people develop themselves as readers, writers, and, perhaps, publishers; is the library also an orchestrator in the world of book culture?

Hug a Technologist - #TOCcon NYC

27 February 2013 | Comments (0)

Am just back from NYC where I attended Book2Camp as well as #TOCcon – O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change conference.  I say, ‘just back’, but of course, owing to time passing more quickly than it should, I’ve been back a while now.

I had a great time in NYC.  Book2Camp was an interesting afternoon of discussion, though I’m tiring slightly of the unconference format, where topics for discussion are suggested by participants; while timings of sessions are pre-determined, there is no set agenda.  Sometimes this works well, sometimes not so well.  In NY the discussion was interesting, but not quite fresh enough for me, not quite radical enough.  Ever since hearing John Naughton talk at the AHRC Moot Day I went to in the autumn, the idea that we are only at the very beginning of a long process, that the digital will transform every single institution we hold dear, from libraries to universities, let alone bookshops and publishers, far beyond our current imagining, has stuck with me, making me impatient with discussions that dwell on where we are today without taking a more trenchant look at where we might be heading. 

The High Line

TOC itself worked better for me as a format for thinking about how to transform writing and reading in the digital age.  First off, I was lucky enough to have been asked to speak at TOC’s first ever day aimed at writers, the Author (R)evolution Day.  This was a great day, where a big range of writers’ organisations, and writers themselves, got the chance to talk about how writing, reading and publishing are changing, and what kinds of opportunities this presents for writers.  The writer as entrepreneur was a theme that emerged during the day, and while it isn’t a mode I see myself employing (ahem), the notion of writers taking control of their own publishing apparatus applies as much to established, traditionally published, or emerging writers as it does to the self-published, and this is something we’re trying to facilitate at The Writing Platform.

One of my favourite talks was given by Laura Dawson, from Bowker (this link takes you to her talks and slides at TOC).  Bowker are the people who are in charge of issuing ISBN numbers among other things (Laura was also at Book2Camp where she was one of several people knitting during the sessions – knitting!). Laura talks in a clear and urgent way about the need to improve metadata for books, the way that this information, this data, accessed by search, is one of the main tools that readers use to find books online, and so this data – the words, keywords, and tags, used to describe the book – needs to be as accurate and as all-encompassing, and as reader-centric, as possible.  Writers need to understand metadata.  Her most startling slide included the following information, gathered from Nielsen UK: 

- Titles that meet the BIC Basic standard see average sales 98% higher than those that don’t meet the standard
- The addition of an image (to a book’s metadata) has a strong impact on average sales, of 268% in comparison to titles without an image
- Split into offline and online sales, offline sales see an increase of 35% for titles which have all enhanced metadata elements present, whereas online sales see a massive 178% increase

The current writing economy is very complex and the day reflected that.  My talk was the final talk of the day.  I took the opportunity to launch The Writing Platform and, as well as that, given the revolutionary theme, I came up with some exhortations for writers.  Here’s what I suggested:

hug a technologist:  for many writers, myself included, the only way to move into the sphere of creating work for digital platforms is to collaborate.
make your work spreadable:  for your work to have a meaningful life online, you need to create work that is spreadable.  ‘Spreadable media’ is a hugely useful concept that Henry Jenkins and his team are exploring. 
look at what’s out there, and start thinking beyond the book: this is an exciting time to be a writer - get out there and start experimenting.

The rest of the conference had numerous highlights, terrific keynotes, and many many great conversations in corridors and over lunches and drinks.  I met Eve Bridberg from Grub Street, a very dynamic centre for writers in Boston, and renewed my acquaintance with journalist and writer Porter Anderson (whose conference twitter stream and Writing on the Ether column are both must-reads) and Meg Vann who now runs the Queensland Writers Centre, a focal point for local/global, online/offline writer-centric activity in Australia (and who I’ll be visiting later this year). Hugh McGuire’s talk on the book as API was galvanising in terms of opening up new ways to think about how books can become more webby (a version of this talk exists here); in my dreams, we’ll create a version of my new novel Landing Gear using this approach.

And, as always, being in NYC was exciting enough in and of itself.  I had a couple of meetings with editors, outside the conference, to talk about my new book.  I met my new Canadian publishers and drank a glass of Californian bubbly with them to celebrate. I rode the subway and took taxis, and talked to people about Hurricane Sandy. I wandered around the city’s streets – surely wandering around New York City is one of life’s greatest pleasures? – and, early one morning, 8 a.m., a cold and sunny February day, I went for a walk on the High Line.  There were few other people, the planting was snow-blasted and brown, and the boardwalk was slippery in places, but what a gorgeous re-imagining of a post-industrial urban space, strangely moving, simultaneously affirming and melancholy. 

I was lucky to be there.  Thanks again to Kat Meyer, Joe Wikert, and TOC.

Off to TOC NYC

4 February 2013 | Comments (0)

Next week I’ll be heading to NYC for O’Reilly Media’s massive Tools of Change digital publishing conference.  I’ll be giving a talk at their first ever Author (R)evolution Day on Tuesday, and I’m on a panel on the Thursday as well - Creators and Technology Converging.  TOC NYC has been on my radar for a number of years, but I’ve never been; I haven’t spent more than a day in NYC for ages, so I’m really looking forward to this.

I’m also attending Book2Camp, so it will be an all-out future-of-publishing extravaganza for me.  As my novel, Landing Gear, goes out to publishers in Canada and the US, it will be hugely interesting for me to get a snapshot of where things are, at the forefront of where technology meets publishing.

The Writing Platform - press release

7 December 2012 | Comments (0)

This week saw the release of the press announcement for The Writing Platform, a new site aimed at writers.  I’m Editor of the site, in partnership with The Literary Platform and Bath Spa University.  Full text of the release follows:

The impact of technology on the publishing industry has seen agents become publishers, publishers become software developers and technology companies offer direct publishing platforms. The Writing Platform aims to help writers who may find themselves feeling either under-informed or faced with conflicting information. It is designed to break down the barriers between different groups of writers and provide practical advice for all, from the complete novice to the technically engaged wishing to understand the complex debates around the digital transformation of the publishing industry.

The Writing Platform, a website and program of live events dedicated to arming writers with digital knowledge, will launch in February 2013. The Writing Platform will be a free online resource for all writers and poets - emerging, established, not yet published, traditionally published and self-published – who are looking for neutral and best practice information about writing in a digital age in order to inform their practice and career choices. The Writing Platform is funded by the National Lottery, and supported by Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts).

Nick McDowell, London Director of Literature at Arts Council England, said:

“Digital technology is enabling writers, emerging and established, to publish their work in innovative ways and engage audiences like never before. We are pleased to support The Writing Platform as it addresses the pressing need for writers to be able to access current, authoritative and impartial digital knowledge. The Arts Council puts the development of artistic talent at the heart of all it does, and this initiative will offer information to today’s writers, empowering them to make sophisticated choices about their creative and professional work.”

The website will be supported by a series of writer-focused live events. The first of which took place at Rich Mix in early November 2012 with organisations as diverse as Wattpad and Words of Colour Productions taking part. One of the key themes to emerge from that day was the demand for more writer-centric events. (Click here for a record of the day.)
The Writing Platform will be edited by writer Kate Pullinger and project managed by The Literary Platform. Kate brings her considerable experience in writing for digital platforms, navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of digital publishing and her experience of being traditionally published to this role. Kate Pullinger comments:

“Writers receive a great deal of contradictory information currently. In my own practice, my agent in North America is setting up as an ebook publisher for her client’s out-of-print backlist, while my agent here in the UK maintains that if agents become publishers there is a clear and simple conflict of interest. With regards to an important issue like, for instance, ebook royalties, the industry standard has become 25%, while if you publish straight to Kindle it is 70%. None of this is easy. The Writing Platform will state the facts.”

The Writing Platform will commission regularly updated content about platforms, copyright, royalties, ebooks, metadata and other complex areas that have implications for writers and their work. 

The team behind the project is keen to hear from writers interested in contributing to the site and in informing the content they would like to see on The Writing Platform. Between now and launch we will be running a survey of writer’s experiences in the digital world. To register your interest in contributing, please email (hello@thewritingplatform.com) and complete the survey here.

The Writing Platform will partner with Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, which, with its leading Creative Writing and Publishing department, is well placed to sponsor student internships at The Writing Platform. Bath Spa will also host The Writing Platform’s forthcoming 2013 event as part of their ground-breaking Digital Writing Summer School and MIX Conference.

The Writing Platform has the endorsement of a range of organisations including Literature Works (formally Cyprus Well), Geekcamp in association with The Reading Agency, if:Book, The Literary Consultancy, The National Academy of Writing, National Poetry Day, Portal Entertainment, Wattpad, Words of Colour Productions and Unbound.

The first phase of The Writing Platform website will be launched on 12th February 2013 at O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change Author (R)evolution Day in New York where Kate Pullinger will be speaking about opportunities for writers in the digital age.

Spreadable Media - Henry Jenkins

16 May 2012 | Comments (0)

Last night I went to hear Henry Jenkins give a talk at the University of Westminster.  He’s doing an unusual thing - at least it was a new one on me - a tour to promote ‘Spreadable Media’, a book that won’t come out for another six months, long after this particular tour is finished.  Interestingly, Jenkins is as concerned with spreading his ideas, its seems, in advance of publication, as he is selling the book.  On the other hand, Jenkins is an academic with a full-time, probably very well paid, job, so his attitude toward book sales is likely a little different than mine.

Jenkins had many interesting things to say last night.  He began by discussing why he has rejected the term ‘viral’ to describe how media artifacts pass between viewers/readers, with its connotations of illness and disease, the ‘smallpox blanket theory of media’.  For Jenkins, ‘spreadable media’ is a much more appropriate term, and he’s happy to embrace the fact that the word ‘spreadable’ makes many people think of butter and jam (much better than H1N1 after all).  He talked distribution vs circulation, about how old media or mass media was all about controlling distribution, while networked media is about circulation; ‘circulation is the new moral economy’.  He discussed how media artifacts, like ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ or a video distributed by a group of activists, change meaning as they are passed from one viewer to the next, how meaning is affected by circulation. 

I think that for writers thinking about how to engage with participatory culture, this distinction between circulation vs distribution is very useful.  When a work is widely circulated, what new forms of meaning are acquired?  If you are circulating your work instead of distributing it, will new ways of generating income from it emerge?  Our project ‘Inanimate Alice’ has changed status via widespread circulation among educators; what started out as an entertainment title has become an education title.  My involvement with this project has resulted in my being granted all kinds of additional currency in a wide variety of spheres, including the education sector, the transmedia sector, and the games industry.

When it comes to more traditional forms of media, i.e. long-form prose fiction - the novel - the circulation vs distribution model becomes more difficult to directly translate.  Jenkins highlighted the work of Cory Doctorow in this field, and the way that Doctorow has built a large readership who buy his books by giving away electronic versions of his books online.  But, as far as I know, Doctorow remains an anomaly.  In some ways, his model has been overtaken by the indy-publishing model, those writers who manage to establish themselves via self-publishing online which then translates into big traditional book industry deals.  But these writers - Hocking, Wilkinson, Shades of Grey, etc - did not circulate their works online for free; they might have charged only 99p, but 99p is still 99p. As well as that, these indy-writers publish within the silo that is Amazon’s Kindle epub format.

A few months ago, Dan Franklin, the digital publisher at Random House UK, sent out a tweet that said ‘Sculpt the frontlist, sweat the backlist’.  When I reminded him of this the other day, he gave himself a virtual slap on the forehead and said, ‘I do talk s**t sometimes.’  However, that line, catchy as it is, has remained with me.  My own backlist is stuck in a kind bookish version of hell.  Rights are spread across a number of different territories, some editions are in print, others are out of print - the whole thing is a big mess.  For the most part, these books are accessible to readers via the secondhand market only (AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THAT!).  None of them exist as ebooks.  So, as far as the online circulation model goes, they are dead.  ‘If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead’, Jenkins says.  I need to fix this.  That backlist needs to feel the heat and do some sweating. 

In January of this year, Jenkins devoted two posts on his blog to a discussion of transmedia and education, with ‘Inanimate Alice’ as one of two highlighted works.  You can find Part One here, and Part Two here.

A Provocation:  No More Outsourcing Knowledge to Agents

20 March 2012 | Comments (4)

Last Friday I went down to Goldsmith’s College in New Cross (always feels like an epic journey somehow though it only takes an hour) to hear John Thompson give a lecture on ‘The Digital Revolution in Publishing’.  Thompson is a social scientist, and I read his excellent book, Merchants of Culture last year when I was working on my PhD by Published Works.  The book is a fascinating study - part sociology, part business analysis, part ethnography - of the past two decades in trade publishing in the UK and the US.  An updated paperback is just coming out now.

Thompson’s talk was fascinating; he gave an in-depth analysis of where the publishing industry is at currently in terms of digital transformation.  He told a few good stories, focusing on the unpredictability of the shift to digital; for instance, how the overall trade publishing percentages of market for ebooks disguise the fact that, within the market for fiction, the shift to digital has been much much higher for certain authors in certain genres.  He talked about ‘the hidden revolution in publishing’ over the past decade, the complete transformation of workflow and production from analogue to digital.  He discussed how many people within trade publishing have been surprised to discover that readers have a big appetite for reading on e-readers, and how sustained narrative in the form of fiction or creative non-fiction has proved to be hugely popular in the digital realm. 

One of the things I found most interesting in Merchants of Culture was the final chapter, ‘Trouble in the Trade’, in particular the section ‘Damaged careers’, where Thompson gives several case studies of writers who have, to put it bluntly, ended up on the scrapheap after failing to sell as many books as the market deems fit to survive.  The thing that struck me most forcibly in this section - and that clearly struck Thompson as well - is how these writers operate within an industry of which they have next to zero real knowledge.  To repeat: most writers know nothing about the publishing industry.  They know how much they’ve been paid, and they know how much their friends have been paid.  But as to how the industry actually functions, both on a production level, and on a larger cultural level - what, for instance, makes a ‘Big Book’? - writers function in a knowledge vacuum.  There are many reasons for this - writers are interested in writing, and they are interested in reading, and they are interested in other writers - but during the question period I got to ask Thompson about this.  Why does he think that writers are so ignorant about their own industry? 

Thompson pounced on the question, saying that his next big research project will focus on this very thing - writers, and the world we inhabit.  Then he said a very interesting thing.  He said, ‘Writers outsource their relationship to the publishing industry to their agents’. 

This struck me as a very simple way of stating a profound truth, and one that carries with it many layers of complexity.  Writers can’t survive in the industry without agents.  Agents act as our intermediaries - we let them get on with business while we write.  But, more than this, this statement reflects a cultural truth - writers aren’t supposed to be business people, we’re supposed to stay in our garrets and dream our beautiful dreams.  No publisher wants to have to deal directly with a writer over a contract.  And while writers outsource their relationship with the industry to agents (apart from, of course, the writer-editor relationship we all hold dear), publishers outsource the finding of new writers and new books to agents. 

Of course, the rise of indy or self-publishing is beginning to disrupt these relationships:  I suspect that whenever any writer self-publishes, the thing they discover, above all else, is how much they don’t know - and how much they need to learn - about how books are published. 

Thompson also stated that one thing that isn’t talked about in all the endless discussions about the future of publishing, and the state of the industry today, is the human cost to writers who are experiencing the blunt end of change.  Last week the agent Jonny Geller published his excellent ‘An Agent’s Manifesto’; he says its time for the industry to wake up to what is happening to writers, that this industry would not exist without us.  ‘The author is not an object which a publisher has to step over in order to achieve a successful publication,’ he says.  But he also adds that writers need to step up and understand more about how publishing actually works. 

Geller is right to say that now, more than ever, we writers need our agents.  But we writers also need to wake up and understand how this big complex industry works as it heaves itself, groaning and moaning, with bits dropping off, and two black eyes, into the twenty-first century.

The Creative Penn - an interview with me

23 February 2012 | Comments (0)

Joanna Penn is one of the most interesting indy authors to emerge here in the UK, not the least for her well-thought out use of social media to innovate around publishing, and publicizing, her books.  We met at a dinner with Stellar Innovator Dominique Raccah form SourceBooks late last year.  Earlier this month, Joanna interviewed me for her website, The Creative Penn.  I’ve posted the audio of that interview over on my Press page.

The Future of Publishing, Again!

9 December 2011 | Comments (0)

There’s been a flurry of future of publishing conferences of late, none of which I’ve attended, unless you count following tweets which, in some instances, is just as good, perhaps even better, than actually attending.  I’ve missed out on the socialising and networking, however, which is at least half the point of attending such things.  Yesterday saw a conference in Bristol, put on by Media Futures and Plymouth University, where Alastair Horne, of Cambridge University Press - otherwise known as @pressfuturist - launched his report, ‘The Future of Publishing:  A Report on Innovation and the Future of the Book’.   It’s recommended reading, very up-to-date, a succinct and comprehensive look at publishing today, with a keen eye on what needs to happen for publishers to survive.  It features a few quotes from, ahem, me, and lots of other quotes from plenty of people with insider views on the industry.

For me, one of the most interesting points Alastair makes is the digital skills gap within the publishing industry, and how they face a rather stark and expensive choice between training current staff and outsourcing digital skills.  The digital skills gap in the industry is enormous, but it runs throughout, from editorial, agents, through to many writers as well.  I feel as though I’m forever trying to interest publishers in my digital projects, though the truth is I probably gave up on this last year after a meeting with my editor at Simon & Schuster in NY, a very senior, very savvy, publisher with many years experience, who looked completely blank when I started to talk about my new digital fiction project, before informing me that S&S has an entire floor devoted to ‘that stuff’.  This is not meant as a criticism of this editor, who has since been further promoted within the firm and I’m sure has quite enough to do without having to completely reskill.  But it depressed me, and made me think, yet again, that the divide between digital innovation in the realm of fiction, and traditional publishing, is as vast as ever.

Alastair includes within the report a quote from me where I managed to make a point about, or get a plug in for, the vast community of electronic literature, digital fiction, and epoetry practitioners who have been innovating away around form and content for many years now, on the other side of that digital divide.  So that’s good. 

To Self-Publish Own Backlist as E-Books or Not to Self-Publish Own Backlist as E-Books?

23 November 2011 | Comments (5)

For ages now I’ve followed the debate about the level of royalties publishers offer writers when it comes to ebooks.  About every six months I found myself getting VERY AGITATED about it all, usually when I come across an article that does the math, crunches the numbers, and shows, exactly, precisely, and in great detail what a LOUSY deal a 25% net royalty is for writers.  The last time this happened was when I came across a blog post from the Author’s Guild in the US, ‘E-Book Royalty Math:  The House Always Wins’.   It happened again this morning when I came across this lengthy piece by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, ‘The Business Rusch: How Traditional Publishers are Making Money’.

A couple of weeks ago I received my first royalty statement from my US publisher; this was the first statement I’d received where I could see a volume of ebook sales set against those of hardcover sales (in the period covered, 25% of units sold were ebooks).  The book, The Mistress of Nothing, sold fairly well (for me!) in hardcover and got up into the top of the escalating royalty rate for hardcovers, 15%.  A hardcover copy of my novel at a 15% royalty gives me $3.31 per copy, whereas the ebook at the decent sounding, but actually lousy, royalty of 25% net, gives me $1.92 per copy.  There we have it.  That is the math.  These figures don’t take into consideration the fact that the ebook might have reached readers who would never buy a hardcover, indeed, might have reached readers who no longer frequent bookshops and only read in digital formats.  But even so, it was interesting to see the figures laid out plainly. 

For several years now, publishers have been banging on about how the move to digital costs them money, how there are many extra steps added to the workload when it comes to publishing ebooks alongside bound books.  But publishers are rarely transparent about these extra costs.  S&S’s statement, quoted in Rusch’s article, “Strong growth in the sales of more profitable digital content was offset by lower book sales” is revealing:  more profitable digital content tells writers all we need to know about actual production costs when it comes to ebooks.  Looks like it’s time to get agitated, again.

Digital Stories Workshop - a sea change?

8 November 2011 | Comments (0)

On Saturday 5 November, I ran a digital stories workshop at the Free Word Centre in London, for Spread the Word.  A really interesting group of people showed up for it, and we spent the day thinking about using technology to find new ways to tell stories, combining photographs and text, generating ideas and questions.

It was an enjoyable day, but for me it felt quite significant in that I thought the level of discussion had moved up a peg or two from workshops of this kind I’ve run in the past. 

This group of people was ready to talk, ready to collaborate, ready to think about what it really means to put text on a screen, what the possibilities are for combining text with other media.  I did not discuss publishing, digital publishing, and/or the digitization of books and, these topics did not emerge during the day.  Instead, the focus was firmly on thinking about new ways to tell stories, and how the participants could use technology to tell stories in their creative and working lives as writers, journalists, and editors. 

We collaborated as a group on a googlemap story - you can find it on the Digital Work page of this website. 

I showed a selection of digital stories to get us thinking and talking - those links are over on the Resources page of this website. 

One of the participants, Alexa Radcliffe-Hart, wrote a great blog post describing the day on her blog, Services to Literature.  Alexa is currently immersed in NaNoWriMo, so best of luck to her with that!

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